It is my great honor to introduce myself as one of the new writers for Mobhunter. It is a daunting task to continue the high quality of editorials that previous writers have brought to this site, but I will do my best.
On Tuesday the Gates of Discord opened and our world of Norrath changed. With this change comes a huge outpouring of news. Without any further wasted words, lets dig in.
One of the most useful aspects of GoD, the Tribute Masters, have been removed for re-evaluation. It appears they are offering a bit too much power for the measly donations we've made. I was able to get 50,000 tribute points, enough to get the five tributes I wanted all upgraded to their max tier for fifty two hours straight. That was for only two normal-level LDON level 65 drops. I cannot say I am surprised, we did seem to gain a lot of favor for a little donation, but it would have been nice if this was balanced before it went live. I know, I know, A_Hoard_of_Cynics Shout "its never live! We're all beta testers!", but still.
The Tribute Masters are a great way for the casual adventurer to get a taste of some of the higher end effects usually reserved for the higher class adventurer who can either raid for or afford such mighty effects as Flowing Thought, Spell Haste, Healing Improvement, and Mana Preservation. For those who already have such effects, this is a great way to fill out the ones you do not. Hopefully they return soon and hopefully we don't see too stiff a reduction in points per item.
There is a big discussion on corpse recovery tools in GoD, something that seems to be lacking. While some painful pompous clerics (me) are making a lot of noise asking for more graveyards in old world zones as well as GoD, some still feel that a game without pain is no game at all. Challenge shouldn't be based on a two hour corpse recovery. Challenge should be based on the direct difficulty of an encounter. To say there is no challenge in Planes of Power or Lost Dungeons of Norrath is a lie.
There is already a new GoD map pack available for the Gates of Discord zones from our friends at EQ Toolbox. Though they are spoilers, these maps are especially useful for those hideous two hour corpse recoveries caused from a lack of graveyards (hint hint).
The difficulty level of GoD has been scaled very high. Mobs in the instanced dungeons are giving people a hard time, hitting for over 1k and attacking in packs. There are reports of a wandering Queen beast in the first hostile zone of the new expansion. Naked adventures run towards her with arms wide, embracing the thought of being struck down so violently by so mighty a beast like some strange Hale Bop cult.
The new city has everything a body needs. There are new trade vendors, a bank, and even someone selling invis potions for three plat each. This makes those painful two hour non-graveyard corpse recoveries a bit easier (hint hint). Unfortunately the only way to get to the city is by shuttle even though you can get to the rest of the world with a Wayfarer Magus port. I have a feeling the city will empty pretty quick when people find out it is still faster to do business in Plane of Knowledge and use the Wayfarers to transport to Natimbi.
Brenlo posted a new plan for an update in March. The second wave of melee balancing is supposed to be dropped in, as well as the graveyard zone. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on melee balancing. Clerics only became melees recently and my shoulder still aches like a son-of-a-gun from all that hammer swinging.
The graveyard zone is a wonderful idea. I know a few people who lost all their equipment due to family emergencies, medical problems, financial issues, and simple mistakes. There is no reason to lose equipment due to an inability to log in for a week and that threat will soon be removed. Unfortunately this won't help with the two hour corpse recoveries in the new Gates of Discord zones but I am sure that will be addressed soon.
Server stability has been a bit unreliable recently. Last night, just before zoning into a perfect LDON adventure, a decision made by those of us who had a nasty two hour corpse recovery the night before, we all crashed on zone and weren't able to get back until it had expired. None of us wanted to risk it crashing in the middle of an adventure so we all did something else instead. Hopefully these problems are taken care of soon (read tonight).
Our new world has only been open for a few days and already we feel that the Norrath has changed. We see strange zone names next to the folks on our friends list. We see links to items beyond even the absurdly powerful Plane of Time loot. We can almost hear the screams of fellow adventurers, themselves stuck in miserable two hour corpse recoveries due to a unreasonable lack of graveyards. Over the coming weeks we will discover more. We will dig in. We will uncover what these strange new armies of evil blind rangers and wither-legged clerics have in store for us. The wheel turns.